The Department of Health on Wednesday urged parents to have their children vaccinated against polio and measles to prevent future outbreaks that could strain resources that are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The immunization drive will run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 5 in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Cordilleras, Mimaropa, Bicol region, and Mindanao, said Beverly Ho, director of the department’s health promotion bureau.
Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Visayas will have the drive from Feb. 1 to 28, 2021.
Because of quarantine restrictions brought about by COVID-19, many children may end up missing their scheduled vaccinations and risk possible infection in the future. Ho is aware of parents’ apprehensions in bringing their children to health centers and hospitals right now, as medical institutions are currently handling COVID-19 cases.
"We want to assure everyone that protocols are in place against COVID-19. Adequately protected 'yung healthcare workers natin, mayroon din mechanisms to ensure may physical distance and the entire encounter with the healthcare worker is less than 15 minutes (Our health care workers are adequately protected and there are mechanisms to ensure there is physical distance and the entire encounter with the healthcare worker is less than 15 minutes.)," she said.
In 2018, the country’s vaccination rate declined after safety concerns surrounding anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia stirred fear among parents.
"At the end of the day, for vaccine-preventable diseases we shouldn’t have deaths. We consider it one too many," Ho said.
Ho said parents can contact their local health authorities, centers, or call the DOH hotline 8651-7800 to book an appointment for their children’s immunization.